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  • November 11, 2011 10:28 am

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Worthless checks

Procedure when taking a check . . .

It is vital that you stress to your employees the importance of being thorough when accepting a check. If your business has set a policy for all customers, then no one should have any reason to feel they are being treated unfairly. It is a good idea to post a “check-list” where a cashier can see it easily. It should include the following:

  1. Is the check properly dated? Checks must be dated the same day that they are issued. Worthless checks which are post dated cannot be prosecuted.
  2. Is the signature legible? Do NOT accept checks previously signed. Have them signed in your presence and compare with driver’s license or other ID.
  3. Is the address complete? Require a permanent street address and a P.O. Box number if they have both.
  4. Can you confirm the identity? Every type of ID can be forged. The most reliable ones are the ones with physical descriptions, photos, etc. If you are suspicious, then ask the writer to hand you the license. While it is in your hand, ask his address and/or birth date. If it is not his license, then he may be caught off guard and give the wrong information.
  5. Do written amounts and numbers correspond? Banks will not honor checks with discrepancies.
  6. Is the ID used recorded on the check? Record the type of ID and ID numbers on the check as well as the initials of the clerk who accepts the check.

Procedure when a check is returned . . .

There are certain procedures you must follow before this office will accept a returned check for the prosecution:

  • The check must be presented to the bank for payment, even if you know it will not be honored, and stamped by the bank with the reason for it’s dishonor.
  • You must send written notification to the check writer informing him of the reason that the check was not honored. The written notice must be sent certified mail, return receipt requested. You can view and download a copy of the letter by clicking on the link below. Be sure to keep a copy of your letter to the check writer.
  • If the check has not been paid after ten (10) days, you should bring it to this office and furnish the following:
    • The original check
    • The signed receipt from the certified letter or the correspondence (unopened) marked “refused” or “unclaimed”.
    • A copy of your letter to the check writer. q The name, address, and phone number of the person who accepted the check and who can identify the maker.
    • Specific identification of the maker such as driver’s license number, date of birth, and physical description. It will be necessary for you to supply this information on a form when you come to the office.

Procedure when the check is turned over to our office…

When you bring in a check, it will be logged in and a search will be made to see if the maker has any other worthless check offenses pending. If there are no additional cases pending, then the office usually notifies the writer that a case is about to be filed. If the offender does not make restitution and pay the processing fee, then the prosecution will begin.

Hopefully, this web page explains the importance of your role in obtaining the necessary information to enable this office to control the worthless check problem and provide you with the restitution you deserve. If you have any questions or problems, please contact the District Attorney’s Worthless Check Division at (337)639.2641. We will be glad to help in any way possible.

Checks to avoid!

The following checks usually cannot be prosecuted as worthless checks:

  • A post-dated check
  • A stop-payment check
  • A two-party check
  • A check more than two years old
  • A check for which partial payment has been received

Clues for detecting bad checks:

  • Be careful of personal checks with low series numbers.. About 85% of all uncollected worthless checks are new account numbers between 101 and 150.
  • Check the finish on the black magnetic computer numbers on the bottom. Magnetic ink is very dull-never shiny.
  • Look for at least one perforated edge. All checks except government or computer-produced will be perforated.
  • Look for multi-colored checks from large corporations, but beware of “Xerox color.” Watch for tacky, shiny, raised letters, this is the best indicator of a copied check.